Sumbala

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Sumbala

Postby bekah on Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:17 am

Hi! Has anyone here heard of, or especially made, sumbala? Wikipedia says:

"Sumbala or soumbala is a condiment used widely across West Africa. It is usually prepared by women over the course of several days, traditionally from néré (Parkia biglobosa) seeds. It can be made from other kinds of seeds, and the use of soybeans for this purpose is increasing due mainly to inadequate supply of néré seeds.

"The fabrication process involves boiling, cleaning and then packing away to ferment - the fermentation process giving it a pungent smell. Salt can be added to the finished product to facilitate storage life.

"This condiment is traditionally sold in balls or patties that can be kept for several months at a time in the case of the best quality. It is a traditional ingredient used across West Africa, especially in cooking.

"The traditional production now faces strong competition from low-quality stock cubes due to heavy publicity. Sumbala is rich in proteins and a variety of dietary minerals, which are completely absent from these bouillon cubes. In the recent years, however, good quality commercial production has allowed the product to make a comeback into everyday cuisine."

Apparently it's available for sale in Little Senegal in the Upper West Side here in NYC, but I'd love to experiment with making some from soybeans or other legumes (guessing that if there's inadequate supply in W. Africa, néré seeds will be impossible to find here) myself.

I'd love to hear about other people's experiences, if you have any! Thanks!

Bekah
bekah
 
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Re: Sumbala

Postby bekah on Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:25 pm

Follow-up:

Sumbala is also called nététou, and I found a brief (somewhat industrialized, not home-scale) description of its making at a sustainable development site (http://www.greenstone.org/greenstone3/n ... owse&p.sa=) :

"The first step in the production process consists of boiling the nere seeds for 12 to 24 hours in order to soften the outer husk. After this treatment the husk is soft enough to allow it to be separated from the cotyledons. De-hulling is carried out in a pestle and mortar to which sand is added, the sand acting as an abrasive which helps to remove the hulls. The next step involves washing to separate the sand and hull. This is a very important stage and has a considerable effect on the quality of the final product The byproducts, sand and husks are used as compost or in building blocks. At this stage the cotyledons are firm and light brown in colour. It takes three hours to hull and wash 25 kg of seeds

"The seeds are then re-boiled for up to three hours after which the water is strained off. They are then placed in jute or nylon sacks and allowed to ferment for 48 to 72 hours. During the fermentation the characteristics of netetou develop; pronounced flavour, strong odour and a brown colour. The product is then salted and partially dried to help in its preservation."

This sounds similar to the initial preparation for tempeh, soaking the soybeans, cooking them a little, then kneading them to loosen the hulls (if one doesn't have a grain grinder), but it sounds like néré seeds are more difficult to de-hull than soybeans, so yet another reason to try with what I have available here!

As a side note, I'm guessing it would need to be fermented at a relatively high temperature (compared to winter temps in NYC), more like daytime temps in Western Africa.

Bekah
bekah
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:16 pm


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